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Whether it's taking a daily ritual from expected to extraordinary or discovering the wonderment and beauty of anew travel destination, J.R. McCabe elevates the everyday with timeless taste and comfortable confidence.
I adore packing. Packing is one of those activities that builds suspense for adventures yet unknown and, when met with playfulness and wonder, can bring as much sweet excitement as the anticipated voyage itself. When pulling together my trip wardrobe, I look for ways to ensure that being practical doesn’t overwhelm a sense of whimsy and delight. Here are my six tips for how to elevate your packing routine:
#1 Craft the Fantasy
While vacations are meant for retreat, relaxation, and recharge — they can also be a doorway to discovering new habits and interests, stirring different life direction, or reigniting creative talents. Without the trappings of everyday life, you are free to “try on” on whatever it is about yourself you’d like to explore more. Whether you aim to have a spiritual, artistic, adventuresome, active/athletic, cultural, culinary, or festive excursion you should dress the part. Envision what it is you want to look like and how you want to feel while you are on this trip. Allow those reverberations to cascade over you as you prepare to pack. For example, if you’re headed to the country or mountains do you want a relaxed and cozy layered vibe or a more refined, sophisticated look. If you are headed to the coast do you want to look and feel romantic and dreamy or preppy nautical. For a recent trip to Sonoma my themes were creative, sophisticated, casual and soft, sexy, dreamy. All of these visualizations will help you to select pieces that will make you feel like you are a character in a film of your own gorgeous creation.
#2 Curate your Collection
Roughly eight to seven days prior to leaving you should begin to curate your travel collection. Start by focusing on a color palette. Packing with a palette in mind invites clean and cohesive style and makes it easier to mix and match items, so you end up packing less. Allow the palette selection to drizzle all the way down to your undergarments and shoes. Once you’ve chosen your pieces stick to my 1-2-3 rule: 1 pair of shoes for every 2 bottoms and 3 tops. This way you can pull together multiple outfits without having to bring the entire closet! Curate a collection that will rise to the occasion of your expedition and suddenly packing becomes less of a chore and more of a charming task.
#3 Embrace the Unknown
My one golden rule of packing is that I always put a number of new items in the suitcase. Sometimes I purchase things on the spot months in advance knowing I will want it just for that special trip I am taking in the future. The new purchase could be something as simple as a scarf or earrings, or something more extravagant like a designer dress or sharp coat. I avoid bringing anything that I frequently wear at home – regular workout gear, favorite pjs, my daily jeans, etc. Vacation is meant to be an exciting and new adventure, so bringing too many items that are part of your daily clothing rotation steals that vibrant energy.
#4 Release from Routine
Releasing from routine extends to all aspects of your daily life. My number four rule for elevating your packing experience is to ensuring that quotidian habits and quirks don’t creep into the journey. I’ve traveled with companions who duplicate their entire life when on vacation — same clothes, same foods and meal times, same schedule . . . the environment is completely different and yet they are exactly the same. Doesn’t that defeat the point of the voyage? A trip is an invitation to step out of your routine – so when possible leave behind things that make you feel immersed in it. For example, instead of your trusted and fully loaded makeup bag pull out a mini selection of items and throw them in a cute clutch. Leave your handheld agenda, everyday purse, and maybe even your computer, at home.
#5 Gather Essentials in Gorgeous Trappings
Which leads me to my number five rule — pack only what is essential and gather those items in gorgeous trappings. If you’re missing something you can always pick it up along the way. Gathering the essentials in one or a couple of spots improves efficiency, reduces clutter, and adds beauty to your packing ritual. Some of my favorites are: Katie Loxton Pouches and nearly everything from Anya Hindmarch’s travel and nylon accessories collections.
#6 Invoke Sweet Dreams
Meet the magic of the wandering moment with proper pajamas. I always purchase gorgeous, comfy, new pajamas for trips. They don’t have to be fancy but they should align with the theme and color palette you’ve chosen for your globetrotting. Travel pajamas should bring comfort, put you in a state of light-hearted ease, and send you off to la la land after a long day of adventure feeling luxurious, beautiful, and content. ✨